The Desert Bells Handbell Choir — pictured at the Winter Lights celebration in 2016 — will be back at this year’s event with more beautiful music. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Local News Briefs: Lots of Christmas events on the horizon

Winter Lights returns to Cache Creek, and you can try to save Christmas at a new Escape Room

Can you save Christmas?

That’s the theme of a new Escape Room at the Ashcroft HUB, which will be operating through Dec. 16.

Mrs. Claus has hidden the key to the toy warehouse, Santa’s hat, and (most importantly) Santa’s list. Can you and your team find them in time to save Christmas?

This family-friendly event has times available throughout the day on Saturdays and Sundays, and is available on weekdays with 24-hours’ notice. The cost is $10 per person or $30 per family, and space can be booked by dropping in at the HUB or calling (250) 453-9177.

Cocoa and treats at the Ashcroft Library

Visit the Christmas Room at the Ashcroft Library before the Sanata Parade on Friday, Dec. 7 and enjoy hot cocoa and a treat while admiring the Christmas display!

Everyone is invited to this free event, which takes place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (the parade starts at 6; the Christmas Room can be enjoyed from 12 to 7 p.m., as the library hours have been extended for Dec. 7 only). You can take your cocoa “to go” to help you stay toasty and warm during the parade.

Library staff thank Make Children First, an anonymous donor, and the library for making the event possible.

Don Alder in concert

Hot off his recent Europe and China tour, Don Alder will do two more shows in B.C., one of them in Ashcroft at UniTea Café and Lounge.

Don plays acoustic fingerstyle guitar with a passion that has quickly earned him a reputation as Vancouver’s “best kept little secret”. Don is a world-class fingerstyle guitarist with a “wow factor” that has led to him winning all the top Modern Guitar Competitions in the world and multiple endorsement deals with many major manufacturers.

The doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. concert on Saturday, Dec. 8. Tickets are $20 per person, and can be purchased at UniTea or by calling (250) 457-1145.

Skate with Santa

Ashcroft Fire Rescue, in partnership with the Village of Ashcroft, is once more sponsoring this opportunity for local kids to Skate with Santa at the Drylands Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Come on down to the arena for this free event: skate with Father Christmas, and enjoy free hot dogs and hot chocolate courtesy of Ashcroft Safety Mart.

Christmas in a Basket

In partnership with Interior Savings Local Give, the Ashcroft HUB will be awarding a family “Christmas in a Basket”: everything they need for a Christmas dinner, and more.

To nominate a family, send an email to the HUB ( or come into the HUB office in person, to say why you think your nominee should receive the basket. Submissions are due by Friday, Dec. 14. For privacy reasons, submissions will not be accepted via social media.

12 Days of Giving

Cache Creek Elementary School has started its annual 12 Days of Giving event. Every school day until Wednesday, Dec. 19, students, parents, caregivers, and community members are invited to donate non-perishable food items, with suggestions for each day (canned vegetables and fruit on Dec. 7, coffee/tea/hot chocolate on Dec. 12, pasta and pasta sauce on Dec. 14, etc.). Drop by the school during school hours with your donations.

Winter Lights celebration

The Cache Creek Beautification Society is once more presenting the annual Winter Lights Celebration, on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Cache Creek Community Hall.

This free community Christmas party will feature Christmas music from the Desert Bells Handbell Choir, the Kamloops Handbell Choir, door prizes, refreshments, a public Christmas carol singalong, a visit from Santa, and recognition of the outdoor Christmas decorations in Cache Creek. All are invited to get into the holiday spirit at this wonderful event.

Christmas at the HUB

There will be a Christmas event at the Ashcroft HUB on Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. for all children in Grades 1 to 6. The event will feature a visit from Santa, a movie, and snacks, and the cost is $2 per person.

Register by phone (250-453-9177), email (, or at the HUB office by Friday, Dec. 14. Pick-up from Desert Sands Community school will be available.

The Equality Project looks to provide Christmas cheer

The Equality Project in Cache Creek is looking to supply some holiday cheer to the less fortunate (and their pets) in our communities. Donation boxes have been set up at the Project’s clubhouse on Stage Road in Cache Creek, Anie’s Pizza, the Cache Creek Veterinary Clinic, and Home Hardware in Ashcroft.

A full list of what they’re looking for in order to provide Christmas bags is available on The Equality Project Facebook page. Items sought include shampoo and conditioner, lip balm, warm socks, flashlights, keychains, gloves, cat and dog food and treats, small hand-crafted gifts, and more.

Cash donations are also accepted. Please make cheques payable to The Equality Project.

Art in the Park

Canada Day might seem a long way off, what with Christmas in the air right now, but the Kamloops Arts Council is notifying local and regional artists and artisans that the earlybird application deadline to show and sell work at Art in the Park on Canada Day is Saturday, Feb. 5. The application fee is $15, with a registration fee of $125 due upon acceptance (a savings of $50).

A variety of mediums are accepted, including jewellery, paintings, pottery, sculpture, fashion, woodwork, metalwork, glass, and leather. There are also categories for specialty foods and health and body products. Work must be handcrafted. Applications for Art in the Park are juried based on originality, quality, and craftsmanship of the work.

Art in the Park is the largest arts event in Kamloops and is organized by the Kamloops Arts Council as part of the City of Kamloops Canada Day celebrations at Riverside Park. The full day of arts exhibitions and sales, demos, and performances is free to the public. Approximately 30,000 people attend each year. If you miss the Feb. 5 deadline, you can still apply under the final artist/vendor application deadline ($175) of Tuesday, March 26.

Complete guidelines and online registration form may be found at

CBC Radio One frequency conversion

Effective Nov. 22, CBC Radio One in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area has moved from 1450 AM and 860 AM to 93.5 FM.

Listeners in the area can now pick up the station at its new FM location.

Community Achievement Awards

Nominations are being sought for the 2018 B.C. Community Achievement Awards, which celebrate the spirit, imagination, dedication, and outstanding contributions British Columbians make to their communities.

Go to before the deadline of Jan. 15, 2019 to nominate a deserving individual who raises the quality and character of your community.

Education savings

Almost 80 per cent of job openings in B.C. over the next decade will require some form of post-secondary education. Some easy ways to plan include receiving $1,200 toward a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for children between six and nine years old.

There are no additional fees or financial contributions needed to receive the $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant through one of 56 banks or financial institutions in Canada. This allows parents and families who cannot currently afford to put money aside to start an RESP to start saving. Even the smallest investment can grow over time and make it easier to pursue post-secondary education and training.

Do not be one of the 40 per cent of families who leave this grant unclaimed. Deadlines to apply for the provincial grant are fast approaching:

* Children born in 2009 have until the day before their ninth birthday to apply.

* Children born in 2010 have until their ninth birthday in 2019 to apply.

* Children born in 2006 also have until Aug. 14, 2019 to apply.

Eligible families with modest incomes can receive up to $2,000 for each child’s RESP from the Canada Learning Bond. There are no fees, and parents can receive this grant without making any additional financial contributions:. For more information, visit http://Canada.Ca/education-savings.

The Canada Education Savings Grant will match parents’ contributions up to a maximum of $7,200 per child. Go to http://Canada.Ca/education-savings for details.

Christmas fun fact

The 1966 animated special How the Grinch Stole Christmas—adapted from the book by Dr. Seuss—has become a holiday classic. The story was narrated by Boris Karloff, who also voiced the Grinch, and among the songs is the memorable “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, where we learn all we need to know about the Grinch’s nastiness (sample lines: “Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: ‘Stink, stank, stunk!’”).

Because no singer was acknowledged in the show’s closing credits, many people thought that Karloff himself had sung the song. In fact, the singer was Thurl Ravenscroft, a well-known singer and voice actor whose floorboard-rattling bass provided the voice of Kellogg’s “Tony the Tiger” for many years. He was also a frequent Disney collaborator, and can be heard in films such as South Pacific.

When Seuss learned that Ravenscroft had not been properly acknowledged, he called the singer to apologize, then contacted many national columnists and informed them of the oversight. When the show was released as an album, Karloff received a Grammy Award in the Spoken Word category; the only major performing award of his long career.

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